All about Billing
In an interview with Metering International, Alex Leslie, Executive Director of the Global Billing Association (GBA), talks about the Association and trends in billing.
Please begin by telling us about yourself?
I used to run my own small conference company and ended up specialising in telecoms. In 1992 a consultancy came to me and said “Why don’t you do a conference on billing systems,” and I thought they were nuts because I had no real idea of what they were on about. Nevertheless we put it together and we were expecting maybe 40 people to show up but it attracted just over 200 people.
DLMS News - Meter data exchange on the liberalised market
The DLMS/COSEM specification, developed to support energy trading on the liberalised markets has reached now the status of an International Standard in IEC and in CEN.
This is the first standard for meter data exchange which comes complete with protocol conformance testing in order to ensure interoperability. It supports meter data exchange for any energy type, any metering equipment complexity, over any communication media, providing controlled and secure access to metering data to any stakeholders on the liberalised energy market.
Straight Talk on CRM and CIS
Putting the organisational complexities of CRM/CIS into perspective is a daunting task. It begins with the need to ensure that the jargon has the same meaning for everyone.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a method for maintaining control of the customer from the prospect phase to the provisioning phase to the billing phase to the customer care phase, to ensure customer acquisition, product or service delivery and, most important, customer loyalty and the integrity of the revenue stream. Managing interaction with the customer through all these phases will mean he is less likely to search for a competitor’s product or service.
How Customer-centric are you?
There is no more profound result of the Internet and general availability of information technology than the shift of power from institutions to individuals. This impact is more profound than simply the availability of information to the masses, or the ability to derive intelligence by processing this information.
What the individual has at his/her fingertips is the complete picture of the market and the options presented by the market. Whether this picture is available today to energy consumers matters little. The fact is it will be available to them soon enough and they will act on not only their complete picture of the reality of their energy options, but also on its relation to every other market picture available to them.
If there can be any doubt that customer relationship management and
customer information systems (CRM/CIS) are a fact of 21st century life, there
also should be little doubt of their increasing importance in a competitive,
deregulated energy industry.
It is no longer a case of where, but when, according to the state and pace of deregulation, more advanced in the UK and New Zealand, for example, less so in the US and Germany, and hardly at all in the developing world.
Miltel: Fixed Network a Reality
The past year has marked a turnaround point for the utility market. More than ever, utilities are investing in metering technologies. Whether this trend is related to the worldwide privatisation phenomenon or is another of the consequences of the US energy crisis, it is clear that metering information technologies are rapidly growing to become an essential part of a utility company’s marketing package. Whether gas, electricity or water, utilities are deploying AMR technologies at a greater pace than in the past. Miltel Communications is one of the key players in this evolving marketplace.
Adapting Lithium Battery Technology to High Performance AMR Devices
Increasingly sophisticated utility meter AMR devices require increasingly powerful lithium battery solutions. The latest generation of AMR devices,which use improved technology, are feature-rich and power-hungry. This means that more is required of the batteries that power them.
Battery manufacturers are under continual pressure to respond to the changing needs of AMR manufacturers, including adapting current lithium battery technology to reduce size, weight and costs. At the same time, battery manufacturers must find new ways to increase capacity to handle the high current pulses of AMR devices.
Water Meters Out of Africa
Like so many success stories, Atlantic Meters had its origins in a series of chance circumstances. Part of the British privately-owned Atlantic Group, it was established only in 1997 but behind it is more than two decades of experience in water meter developments in the UK and Europe.
Nigel Ebdon, Commercial Director of Atlantic Meters explains that the Atlantic Group was established by David Hudson in the mid-1970s as a plastics moulding business. One of its earliest projects was to develop an improved plastic meter enclosure for a local water authority. So successful did this prove, becoming used throughout much of the UK, as well as elsewhere in Europe including France, Denmark and Germany, that it set the future direction of the Group.
New Developments in Meter Testing:Total Meter Quality Management
Electrical energy meter manufacturers and their customers have seen fundamental changes in their markets over the last three decades. Highly sophisticated meters with a wide range of functions have been introduced. At the same time privatisation of the power industry has led to enormous pressure on manufacturers to increase functionality and, simultaneously, to reduce prices. The effect of all this is that component and production costs have been forced down, and R&D times have had to be cut in order to give a reduced ‘Time to Market' for new products.
GRUNER AG - specialist developers of latching relays
GRUNER AG developed the first electronic ripple control receivers some 30 years ago. These receivers required latching relays, which we produced in-house. It was soon apparent that there was also an external need for the relays, and we supplied them to companies which were themselves active in the market for ripple control and energy management systems.